Reinventing fashion: The unlikely partnership between IBM and Salesforce at BeSpoke

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wpid-thumbnail-84b1ed97e760faa067dd462c8036f50c1-500x363“We are really going to do this…the two of us are defining the Salesforce-IBM relationship right here…to Dreamforce, to Dreamforce!”  Lindsey Irvine and I clinked our coffee cups during what hardly resembled my tearful going-away coffee.  Maybe one door was closing for me at Salesforce just as another was opening at IBM but, I attest that in a moment, two colleagues were transformed into a new world order.

To the outside world, IBM and Salesforce may seem a pair to form the unlikeliest of friendships.  Salesforce is an emerging San Francisco innovator that drives the annual SF Dreamforce coupled with Big Blue, a technology leader for 100 plus years. For Lindsey and me, though, ours is the most natural of alliances, and our love of innovation anchors us to it.

To call us iconoclasts would be overly simplistic — our companies seek to move with a technology grain as much as disrupt it — and our rallying cry is to consumerize it.   As heads of Salesforce Wearables and IBM Cloud Marketplace, respectively, Lindsey’s and my mission is to is put customer success first, and we extended our hands to Lindsey Ann Thomas, Vice President of Westfield BeSpoke, as she tackles the worldwide luxury mall’s strategy of a digitized mall.

Thomas understands. Bellwethers like Westfield BeSpoke in San Francisco offer a glimpse of how to bridge a thriving marketplace and digital community — a heat map of customer engagement, co-located retail innovation, pop-up shops and personalized shopping experiments — connecting in ways like never before.

Technology’s influence on fashion is widespread and evident through both its adjacency to retail and people.  But for all of technology’s contribution, what is new is that the ecosystem creates a multiplier effect, and customer connections are more valuable than individual buying units. By charting a new course, Westfield is a perfect partner. They are the first to bring participation,  personalization and product 2.0. to luxury shopping, all in one marketplace.

IBM Watson in the Cloud Marketplace and Salesforce Wearables, together, form the keystone that bridges this physical and digital divide. And since most of the data lives on the edge, it takes an unlikely or the most likely — depending on your vantage point — alliance to make sense of all this data, in real time, while charting a new experience for every customer.

As just one example, think of an app that knows your social profile on Instagram and LinkedIn, and, as you walk up to the entrance to Bloomingdales, or any high-end retailer, it can recommend the perfect outfit in the store based on your social footprint. We foresee a whole new class of apps that augment and extend how we imagine the shopping experience.

Want to hear more about what this new world looks like? Come hear about the partnership of IBM and Salesforce building bridges of success at Westfield Bespoke in their own words at Dreamforce on September 16, at 1:30pm PDT at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco. We promise to take you on a journey like never before.


Vice President, IBM Cloud Marketplace and SaaS

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